Wine Glasses and their Utility

What started in the past as an all purpose smallish shaped 10oz balloon styled glass has evolved into
A number of different shapes that are specific to the wines or varietals they are intended for.

The typical big red glass is a Bordeaux shaped glass. This glass typically holds 20 to 22 ounces of wine.
The bowl has to be large enough to allow what I would refer to as tighter styled wines that don't give themselves up easily, room to breathe. Oxygen as we know, the mortal enemy of wine, is a required
Necessity to complete the transformation of tighter styled wines into becoming more enjoyable.
The wine should only be poured about 1/5th the capacity of the glass. The simple reason for this is that
the less wine in the glass, the more oxygen in the glass to be absorbed by the wine. If we are to understand the complexity of wine, we need to appreciate that oxygen plays as important a role into a wines enjoyment as does its tannin, acidity, alcohol and its inherent varietal characteristics (fruit). The Bordeaux glass today is being used to serve big Australian Shiraz, South African merlots, and Big California Cabernets.
These wines almost as a general rule tend to have high alcohol levels in the range of 14% and higher.
When serving these fruit forward wines in a large bordeaux bowl, we tend to emphasize the alcohol in as much as the fruit. This is a detriment to the wine, because alcohol clearly takes over or clouds the senses.
Highly extracted, fruit forward big reds would do better in a glass that has a smaller bowl, say typically a
A 14oz bowl. These wines have enough fruit in them, to carry them over in much smaller bowls.
The idea is to refine these wines, by downplaying the excessive extraction of fruit and the perception of alcohol. This is a contrarian approach to what most sommeliers will tell you, as they will tell you that big fruit forward reds require room to breathe. However the raison d'?tre of the 22oz Bordeaux glass and the principal behind its design is to bring out aromas that are buried deep in the bottom layers of the wine, and not right at the surface of the wine.

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About The Author, John Daddario